Cindy Brown calls Samaritan House her lifesaver.
“If I kept going on the road I was on, I’d probably be gone,” she said in her Denver apartment. “So, they saved my life.”
A previous drinking problem and losing her job and apartment made the phrase “hitting rock bottom” a reality.
“I felt it was rock bottom—a phrase that I kept hearing, but I never really understood it until I realized—I don’t have a home. I don’t have any money,” she said. “I probably wouldn’t have survived if I had to be out (on the streets). I was in a hole and they helped me climb out of there.”
The Colorado native spent years serving in the military and grappled with health issues after returning. She was referred to Samaritan House in downtown Denver to help her rebuild a life.
As Catholic Charities of Denver’s largest shelter, Samaritan House offers some 300 single men, women and families access to food, shelter, classes and resources. Kerry Daniel, director of case management, said Brown joined its program a year ago feeling alone and scared.
“A lot of the people that we see here have never experienced homelessness before,” Daniel said. “The women’s population, the homeless population is very, very vulnerable. Living on the streets is extremely dangerous. … Any one of us could be in this situation, especially if you’re living paycheck to paycheck.”
After joining the shelter’s program, Brown found the support she needed—shelter, meals, clothes, case management and assistance with medical care and veteran’s benefits. She had increased problems with climbing stairs, and doctors discovered she was afflicted with multiple sclerosis.
“With physical therapy and all the treatments, I’m doing a whole lot better than I was when I first got there,” she said.
After completing the program, Brown found an apartment and is searching for permanent housing.
“For me, it was a new beginning—something I had never been through before, and I’m glad to have taken that journey,” she said. “I’m still on that journey until I find my permanent home ... but I see it coming.”
Brown said she’s thankful for Samaritan House and its lifesaving help.
“It’s a place to go to save yourself,” she said. “They saved my life.”